21
Feb
12

It's profoundly annoying when some janky web form or app crashes and you lose a bunch of text, but you're just a few clicks away from stopping that once and for all on your Android device. Type Machine silently backs up every word you type so you can retrieve it later. Does this sound both awesome and worrisome? Well, it's only one of those.

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Setting up Type Machine requires you allow the app as an accessibility service, which is how it saves your text. After that, most things you type will be piped into the app and organized by the app they came from. What's particularly neat about the saved text is that you can scrub through a timeline to see the entire text entry process. If you deleted something and re-worded, you can go back to a time when the deleted text was there. Of course, you can copy any of the saved text in Type Machine.

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The app allows you to set an expiration date on text – you can have anything older than 1-7 days deleted, or just keep it forever. The app can be secured with a PIN lock to keep prying eyes out, and there is an app black list to prevent certain apps from sending text to Type Machine. Passwords will never be sent to this app, though. But what about all your words? Are they safe? Type Machine lacks the internet access permission, so it can't send your text anywhere. In fact, the only permission it has is 'run at startup.'

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There have been a few apps in the past (since abandoned) that do similar things, but Type Machine's feature set is excellent. This app is $1.99 in Google Play, and it's probably something you ought to investigate. 

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

  • anzensepp1987

    That's a killer-app. Bought it right when it appeared in Play Store. It happened way too often that I lost some long and accurately typed text.

  • cabbiebot

    bought it. im broke because of AP finding these apps :(

    • cabbiebot

      this app is very well designed. Only complaint is that I'd like the choice to make the app lock just by switching to another app, instead of dragging the notification drawer down, expanding the Type Machine notification and tapping "Lock".

      • Orkeren1307

        Tell the developer - I'm sure they'll add such an option in the security settings menu.

    • Barrie McNaught

      That's pretty much how I feel too :) not sure it's a bad thing though I have an awesome app collection. Found this one in a comment on another AP post and thought that's awesome.

    • abobobilly

      Well there are two sides to every story. Yours is just one side :)

      Thanks to AP.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    Needless to say, I was a bit excited when I discovered and played with the app yesterday. You could say that. https://plus.google.com/u/0/107797272029781254158/posts/afp4UT8aLvR

    • wickets

      Lol, taken until now to realize you have a ğ+ presence 😊

    • cabbiebot

      .

  • frettafrunz

    Ehm... There's a name for this. It's called *keylogger*

    • Alex

      Except this has no internet permissions so...

      Thanks AP, bought! Definitely needed when I would type huge paragraphs on the eBay mobile app and it would never send it.
      Freaking eBay...

    • alannah mcgrowdie

      my Aunty Amelia got a new blue Land Rover
      LR4 only from working part time off a home computer... helpful hints F­i­s­c­a­l­M­a­z­e­.­ℂ­o­m

    • abobobilly

      A keylogger for "outselves". FUCK YEAH, Bring it On baby. FEEL the NSA power in your hands -.-

      .... yea i know thats hardly NSA but just roll with it.

  • namesib

    Finally, a Clip Ninja alternative. I was very disappointed when thw dev abandoned that app.

  • alamarco

    I wish Google would add this. At the very minimum add it to the Keep app. I can't count the number of times I've accidentally deleted text inside of Keep app. Very frustrating.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Just a plain undo/redo we're used to on the desktop would do.

    • abobobilly

      For some reason, i won't wish for something like this and would prefer separate app "which can do it better".

      Google still can't offer anything "rigid" for deleting/recovering feature in its apps, i can't imagine what they'll do with Text.

      Hangouts still haven't got its "side tabbed" fixed which are just WRONG ... with that slide to delete. To top it up, we get just "ONE" chance to Undo it, and if we make a wrong touch somewhere, we are fucked. For this reason, i still can't use Hangouts as my SMS app.

  • WHO?

    I use something like this for desktop chrome called lazarus. Been waiting for an android app .

  • Kurt

    The NSA is releasing apps now?

    • yochanan

      It's obvious you didn't read the entire article...no internet permission.

      • Solid

        Obviously both of you don't know NSA either.

        NSA don't need to release any app to spy on your phone. Their sophisticated monitoring apps don't even need internet permission. They can just intrude mobile network, using exploit in SIM card, using phone hardware vulnerability, etc and so on..

        Read articles on ArsTechnica or somewhere, will you.

        • andy_o

          Which articles specifically state they're doing this?

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    How does AP always find these goodies? Is there a specific "What's New?" Channel for the Play Market?

    • Mado

      I'm guessing it is either they are looking for something like this themselves and found a good one; found it through online communities like reddit; or asked by the developers themselves and then they decide if it is worthy to post.

    • abobobilly

      You should ask AP for their Sniffing Dog breed. That might be interesting.

  • abobobilly

    Every time i see an app with PROPERY Interfact, i feel like Kissing that app developer. Seriously, that looks absolutely pretty.

    Plus, the functionality is very well needed, and beautifully arranged to be annoyance-free.

  • http://webweenie.blogspot.ca/ Stephen A.

    Says $1.99 here, but on play $2.49. Not a biggie, just wondering why.

    • firesoul453

      Says $1.99 for me

      • http://webweenie.blogspot.ca/ Stephen A.

        Maybe it's after exchange rate, for Canadian Loonie

        • firesoul453

          Ah that could be it.

  • firesoul453

    I hate losing text though I've gotten into the habit of copying any text befor submitting it into a form. (Such as this one.)

  • primalxconvoy

    No free version? It would be nice to have one with a minimum save length of (one day?) to see how it works.